Matt Firor, the Game Director of Zenimax Online Studios, has answered several questions submitted via Twitter on the PlayStation Blog about the upcoming release, The Elder Scrolls Online. Most notably, he has confirmed that a PlayStation Plus membership is not required to play The Elder Scrolls Online on PlayStation 4.
PC, Mac, and PlayStation 4 players are only beholden to The Elder Scrolls Online’s monthly $15 subscription fee, whereas Xbox One players must subscribe to the Xbox Live Gold service, a $60 yearly fee, for access to The Elder Scrolls Online.
Additionally, Mr. Firor informed players that servers will be split between the European PlayStation 4 megaserver and the North American PlayStation 4 megaserver. Therefore, PlayStation 4 players will not interact with PC and Mac players. A noted upside is that The Elder Scrolls Online launches three months earlier on PC and Mac with an April 4, 2014 release, and a June 2014 launch for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. By not sharing servers, PlayStation 4 players will not face leveled up PC and Mac players.
Multiple questions inquired into the controller mapping configurations for the PlayStation 4, such as how an action bar is incorporated and whether the controller’s touchpad will be utilized. Zenimax Online Studios has not yet finalized a control scheme but is focused on providing “on the couch” gameplay. No controls are finalized for the touch pad yet.
Additionally, The Elder Scrolls Online allows for playing with others or alone, but designated areas are being designed with the intention of group gameplay. While not directly answering a question asking how much memory downloading the game requires, Mr. Firor expressed confidence that the PlayStation 4 includes sufficient memory not only for the base game but for continued downloads for years of post-launch content. The entire transcript is available here.
The Elder Scrolls Online is both bringing the franchise into the MMO genre and launching a genre traditionally ensconced on PCs into the realm of consoles. For disabled gamers, the finalized controller scheme is a foremost concern. Issues include whether or not the controls are remappable, and that required use of the touchpad could prove inaccessible. Additionally, for disabled gamers with limited funds due to their disability, the PlayStation 4 is both a cheaper console than the Xbox One and does not require a paid premium online service for entry into The Elder Scrolls Online.
The Elder Scrolls Online remains in beta, and the console edition launches several months after the PC and Mac releases. Such additional time may prove helpful in using disabled gamers’ feedback for creating not only a new console experience but an accessible experience too.